How To Make a Flannel Board

Young mother help her son with drawing
Make a Flannel Board. Thanasis Zovoilis / Getty Images

Play is very valuable to your child. It is such a natural way to learn. Through play, your child is learning to exercise imagination, try out new ideas and gain a sense of control over his world.

Before a child can understand an abstract concept (like learning shapes), there must be concrete learning experiences. The child must feel shapes, see shapes, manipulate the shapes. This is what makes play such an effective learning tool, as opposed to direct instruction.

One way a child can become involved in these concrete learning experiences is through the use of a flannel board. In addition, your child will be developing fine motor skills.

You will need:

  • A sturdy piece of plywood, cardboard or posterboard
  • A piece of flannel large enough to cover the board
  • Duct tape (or a staple gun or upholstery tacks if using plywood)
  • Felt squares to make shapes and other cut-outs

What to do:

  • Wrap the piece of flannel around the board you have chosen.
  • Secure all edges around the back side with the duct tape, staples or tacks.


  • The flannel board doesn't have to be large to be effective. A 1 x 1 foot square is adequate and can travel in the car, or you can make a larger board for use at home.
  • You can find scrap pieces of felt or fabric squares, which are very inexpensive at a fabric store, hobby shop or local discount store.
  • Try starting out with "easier" concepts like shapes and colors, and then move on to numbers, letters, and animals.
  • You can also color images from coloring books or use pictures from magazines. Just mount these on some posterboard or sturdy paper and hot glue some small squares of sandpaper to the back so that it will stick to the flannel board.

Other Resources

There are a number of companies that make felt sets that go with flannel boards, which are excellent for when your child is older and wants to use the board to create stories and scenes.

Here are some of my favorites:

And, if you're an avid eBayer, you can often find story sets there. Just use the phrase "flannel board sets" in the search box.

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